Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ghost Town

Ricky Gervais established his acting style in The Office and Extras. If you know Gervais is in a movie, you can be fairly sure that he will be playing the same character. But, it's a good character. And one you are comfortable with. In this, he plays a dentist who dies for 7 minutes during a routine colonoscopy, and can see dead people with unresolved issues. It's an old story that's been told quite a few times before, but in this, he acts with Greg Kinnear and a sincerely more developed actress than she used to be, Tea Leoni, in a way that becomes touching and sweet. Despite the adult references and languages, there were incredibly NOISY children in the showing we saw. It's an R in some respects and should be treated as such. Also, ghosts of this genre are mature issues- not for kids really. The comedy is well timed. Don't grow restless in the beginning- it will begin to tell a the story soon enough. I'd say go see it- because it never gets maudlin or any more ridiculous than it needs to be.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Burn After Reading

A Coen brothers picture can be a can of worms- or box of hammers, or box of candy- but you never know until you see it how much YOU personally will like it. I happened to like this one. It was the curious mix of Brad Pitt and John Malkovich and the shocking spots of violence that got to me. Seeing George Clooney in such an odd role- sort of a dopey sex obsessed philanderer- seemed off kilter. Clooney seemed miscast to me- and I spent most of his time on screen looking at his new teeth. It's bad when you know an actor that well. It does make playing a specific role harder on them. I must say that Frances McDormand was too quirky, too frantic, too oddball to bring a sense of belief to her character. That is the fault of the directors, the Coen brothers. Also, the film itself has an unfinished end- the viewer KNOWS what is happening, but it seemed like the Coen's wanted to save film, so rather than show a montage of the characters going their various ways, they let someone just SAY it. Movies aren't books on tape. We don't want someone to TELL us the story! At least it wasn't narrated. But I liked it nonetheless. It was preposterous. And Brad Pitt and John Malkovich play characters that they normally are never associated with. So, for that reason, I'd recommend it. NO KIDS- there are adult "toys" prominently featured. And if I was a kid, I'd have nightmares about the one I saw! And some unexpected but pretty gross violence.